RE: Validating manuals

Subject: RE: Validating manuals
From: "Combs, Richard" <richard -dot- combs -at- Polycom -dot- com>
To: "Michelle Vina-Baltsas" <Michelle_Vina-Baltsas -at- datascope -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2007 07:59:57 -0600

Michelle Vina-Baltsas wrote:

> My company QA department wants to begin validating our
> operating instructions against the software user interface
> (UI) documents . I use FrameMaker 7.0 (unstructured) to
> create the manual and am using conditional text to manually
> trace the UI tags to the specific sentences/passages in the
> FrameMaker file. This is very time consuming and tedious.
> Does anyone have to do this type of tracing to a UI or to
> another document type? If so, how are you doing it?

I don't understand how tracing labels from the UI to your manual
_validates_ your operating instructions. All it does is confirm that the
Foobar button is mentioned somewhere in your manual; it tells your QA
dept. nothing about the accuracy, timeliness, clarity, completeness,
etc., of instructions for use of the Foobar button.

IMHO, the proper way for QA to validate operating instructions is to
test them: follow the instructions step-by-step and record the results.
Note any deviations from the expected results, missing steps, etc.
Sounds to me like someone in QA wants to offload part of their work on
you. But this tracing proves nothing of value, and thus is pointless and
stupid. IMHO, of course. :-)


Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
Polycom, Inc.
richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
rgcombs AT gmailDOTcom


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Validating manuals: From: Michelle Vina-Baltsas

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